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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 21;9(3):e92538. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092538. eCollection 2014.

Recent weather extremes and impacts on agricultural production and vector-borne disease outbreak patterns.

Author information

1
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, Greenbelt, Maryland, United States of America; Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland, United States of America.
2
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, Greenbelt, Maryland, United States of America; Science Systems and Applications Incorporated, Lanham, Maryland, United States of America.
3
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural, & Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America.
4
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, Greenbelt, Maryland, United States of America.
5
United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, International Production & Assessment Division, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America.

Abstract

We document significant worldwide weather anomalies that affected agriculture and vector-borne disease outbreaks during the 2010-2012 period. We utilized 2000-2012 vegetation index and land surface temperature data from NASA's satellite-based Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to map the magnitude and extent of these anomalies for diverse regions including the continental United States, Russia, East Africa, Southern Africa, and Australia. We demonstrate that shifts in temperature and/or precipitation have significant impacts on vegetation patterns with attendant consequences for agriculture and public health. Weather extremes resulted in excessive rainfall and flooding as well as severe drought, which caused ∼10 to 80% variation in major agricultural commodity production (including wheat, corn, cotton, sorghum) and created exceptional conditions for extensive mosquito-borne disease outbreaks of dengue, Rift Valley fever, Murray Valley encephalitis, and West Nile virus disease. Analysis of MODIS data provided a standardized method for quantifying the extreme weather anomalies observed during this period. Assessments of land surface conditions from satellite-based systems such as MODIS can be a valuable tool in national, regional, and global weather impact determinations.

PMID:
24658301
PMCID:
PMC3962414
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0092538
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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